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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Mount Royal Station

Thriving Community-Cultural Icon

 
 
Mount Royal Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 22, 2017
1. Mount Royal Station Marker
Inscription. With the 1960s renovation completed, the station became a point of pride once again-for Baltimore and for MICA. It was an important factor in the college’s regional accreditation and the further growth of its enrollment and reputation. The renovation also became a symbol of the positive changes underway in the Mount Royal area. Today the station is a centerpiece for Baltimore’s thriving cultural district, and the cornerstone of MICA’s campus.,P. (Inscriptions under the images at the bottom)
1968-1970s-Sparking a Renaissance
In 1968, MICA hosted a conference on the future of the Mount Royal area. That event helped to fuel the development of a thriving cultural corridor. Among the Baltimore leaders attending were Walter Sondhiem, Joseph Meyerhoff, and Parren Mitchell. The renovated station inspired Joseph Meyerhoff to construct Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, a new home for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, on the site of the dilapidated Deustches Haus (the original home of Bryn Mawr School, shown above, paired with the current view)-rather than in the Inner Harbor as planned.

The Lyric Opera House decided to complete it façade. The University of Baltimore grew. The Associated Jewish Charities and Theatre Project moved into the area. The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation on Preston Street decided not to move

Mount Royal Station-Three Markers image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 9, 2017
2. Mount Royal Station-Three Markers
out-renewing its commitment to the city and saving yet another landmark building in the area. A historic railroad station once surrounded by auto dealerships, symbols of the area’s declined, was now surrounded by important cultural institutions and events-and open space that enhanced the landscape. Above: the mid-1960s view of the station’s environs, paired with that same view today.

A Cultural Icon
Set on a unique site in a hollow below street level in park-like surroundings, the Mount Royal Station is a natural amphitheater and gathering place. MICA began to present cultural programming there almost from the moment it acquired the site. In 1968, the Mount Royal Station was the site of the first major film festival in Maryland-focusing on experimental film, it was offered collaboratively by MICA, Goucher College, and The Johns Hopkins University-with “turnaway crowds.”

When Fred Lazarus, who became MICA’s president in 1978, suggested that Baltimore’s new summer arts festival take place in the Mount Royal area, the idea was warmly embraced. In short order, the Mount Royal Station became the centerpiece of Artscape, which celebrated its 25th year in 2006 with record crowds in the hundreds of thousands.

Over its history, Mount Royal Station welcomed a parade of famous dignitaries to its platform. With its renovation, exhibitions and lectures

Mount Royal Station Tunnel image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 22, 2017
3. Mount Royal Station Tunnel
by eminent artists and world-renowned educators once again drew the public to the station. Shown, clockwise from top left: journalist and broadcaster Alistair Cooke, poet Allen Ginsberg, painter Helen Frankenthaler, architect Louis Kahn, photographer and film-maker Gordon Parks, and anthropologist Margaret Mead. Among the others who visited the station were: Romare Bearden, John Cage, Alex Katz, Robert Motherwell, Fairfield Porter, David Smith, and Clyfford Still.

When distinguished anthropologist, Margaret Mead, spoke to MICA IN 1965, the B&O juggled its schedule of trains through the tunnel so that no trains ran during her one and a half-hour talk. Mead observed at that event that the Mount Royal Station renovation was “perhaps the most magnificent example in the Western World of something being made into something else.”

1970s & Beyond-Anchor for an Innovative Campus
As MICA has evolved into one of the nation’s top colleges of art and design, the station, and its role in MICA’s campus, has also changed initially, it was the center of campus life, housing the library, public gallery, cafeteria, and auditorium, as well as studios for sculptural studies. During these early years, the Mount Royal Station was MICA’s most public building, the window that opened into the community.

For many years, annual commencement exercises were held in

Mount Royal Station-Frost Plaza image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 22, 2017
4. Mount Royal Station-Frost Plaza
front of the station. Since the early 1990s, MICA students have lined up here each May for the procession to exercises in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Left, President Fred Lazarus with the late Tom Miller ’87, when he received the College’s 1997 Alumni Award.

As MICA has grown and its campus had evolved, the station has come to be the college’s center of three-dimensional art, housing the departments of sculpture and fiber, as well as Rinehart School of Sculpture. The 2005-2007 renovation expanded studio space for these disciplines and spaces for public programming and major exhibitions moved to the new center of campus-the Brown Center for Building.

Today the station anchors the southern edge of a growing campus that includes the historic 1904 Main Building (also listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and Brown Center (the college’s first newly constructed academic facility in nearly 100 years). MICA also has continued the tradition of adaptive re-use of historic structures, carving out an eclectic campus within its historic neighborhood. Several of these projects have had an impact on MICA’s community similar to that of the station renovation. For example, the transformation of a former sewing factory on North Avenue into artists’ studios served as an important anchor for Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District. The renovation of a former

Mount Royal Station image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 22, 2017
5. Mount Royal Station
hospital in the heart of Bolton Hill became Robert and Jane Meyerhoff House.

Designated as an Official Project of Save-America’s Treasurers, the Mount Royal Station will remain a cherished treasure. The 2005-2007 renovation featured the movement of the building’s main entrance to the north end of the structure, opening onto Frost Plasa where you now stand; a major cleaning for the exterior and new exterior lighting to bring fresh attention to this historic building; as wall as restoration of the tower clock and train shed.
 
Location. 39° 18.359′ N, 76° 37.199′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is on Cathedral Street. Touch for map. This marker is the third marker on the right of the three markers. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Mount Royal Station (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Mount Royal Station (here, next to this marker); Douglas L. Frost (a few steps from this marker); The Lyric Theatre (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Maryland Line Monument (about 400 feet away); Jesse Lazear, M.D.

Mount Royal Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 9, 2017
6. Mount Royal Station Marker
(about 600 feet away); 29th Division Association (about 600 feet away); Mergenthaler House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEducationIndustry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 21, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 20, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 20, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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